Miss Vermont 2008, Ashley Wheeler, has certainly made a splash in raising awareness for the Miss Vermont Scholarship Organization this year!
Kudos Ashley for being the first Miss Vermont to win a Preliminary Talent Award and for being the Non-Finalist Talent Winner at the Miss America competition! I thought this would position her nicely for being a finalist, but not the case. Regardless, this is awesome for Vermont and awesome for Ashley!
Besides rocking out a fabulous rendition of "God Bless America" and taking home $6,000 in scholarship from the Miss America Pageant (making a total of $13,000 in college scholarship partnered with her Miss Vermont funds), Ashley wore a 100% eco-chic dress for the evening gown competition made by Vermonter, Tara Lynn. Personally this is one of the loveliest dresses I have ever seen.
The Miss Vermont Scholarship Organization as a whole has made tremendous strides in building the awareness and integrity of the program, due mostly to the fact that three passionate, dedicated, and talented former Miss Vermont's run the organization. Miss Vermont 2000, Hannah Nelson, was the force behind making Special Olympics Penguin Plunge such a phenomenal event and fundraiser when she took a job there after her reign as Miss Vermont 2000. Now the Director of Alumni Relations at Lyndon State College, Hannah has honed exceptional public relations skills and her efforts have had huge impact for the Miss Vermont.
Also an excellent recruiter, Hannah recruited me to be a judge in the Miss Vermont Pageant in 2005, the first year Ashley Wheeler competed in Miss Vermont. You've come a long way Ashley and you were amazing back then!
Congratulations Ashley - you certainly had the state rooting for you while you were competing in Miss America! And Good Luck in all of your endeavors!